Five national highways remain closed and nearly 240 routes are restricted across the country, reported RCN radio Thursday.
The recent break in the rains has permitted the rehabilitation of many closed routes, to the point that only five national highways remain completely blocked by circumstances related to the weather.
German Cardona Gutierrez, the transport minister, has further emphasized that in the places where access is restricted, “there are difficult ways through.” The five closed roads are in the departments of Antioquia, North Santander, Santander, Sucre and the Valley of Cauca.
This comes against the backdrop that La Federacion Colombiana de Transportadores de Carga por Carretera (COLFECAR) has reported losses of $242 million in 2010, accentuated during the last months of the year by the torrential weather that enveloped the country.
The union president, Jaime Sorzano Serrano, lamented that the weather had “affected all the transport processes,” and explained that while general inflation during 2010 was 3.17 percent, the operating costs in the sector were 7 percent, with a fuel rise of 17 percent that accounted for a third of the total sector costs.
In response, President Juan Manuel Santos has pledged to invest $135 million to improve the Curos-Malaga highway in Santander.
After meeting with the mayors of Garcia Rovira Province in Conception, Santander, President Santos stated that reconstruction of the 130 kilometer road is a necessity in order to invigorate the regional economy.
“I am sure that it is going to be of great benefit to the province,” assured the head of state. “It is a province with great potential,” he continued, “and the only thing that it needs is to be able to sell its products, to commercialize them well, and to have the facilities that other regions of the country have.”